With Kyle Allen recovering from ankle surgery following an injury sustained in Week 9 against New York, Dwayne Haskins will suit up with pads for the first time since getting demoted to third-string after starting the first four games this season.
Now, NFL Network analyst and former Cowboys star wide receiver Michael Irvin wants to see him get another shot.
"I would be fluid with it," Irvin told 106.7 The Fan's Grant and Danny show on Tuesday. "I would get Alex back in there, but I'm looking for another opportunity for the kid to get back in there to see if there's anything he learned while sitting down."
After not even being able to be on the field with the team the week of his benching due to a non-coronavirus related illness, Haskins has spent the last few weeks watching Smith and Allen get reps from the sidelines. Whether or not he can translate the things he's been taking in onto the field remains to be seen, however, as Rivera already named Smith the starter for the Burgundy and Gold's matchup with Detroit.
Still, Irvin wasn't bothered with the actual decision to bench Haskins. In fact, he admitted Smith was the better QB to lead Washington in a wide-open NFC East. Instead, though, Irvin was irked about the aftermath of Haskins' benching.
"I understand they made the decision and some things happen. They made some decisions, the next thing you know they were sending Dwayne Haskins, the kid, home," Irvin said. "And I got upset because as soon as they made the decision, then one of our reporters come out and said well the coaches said that they want him to be, show more of a leadership by coming early and leaving late. I was like stop, stop it guys, you already benched him, let’s not ruin him. You know what I mean, let’s not destroy him.”
Irvin spoke of the importance of having a strong mentality as a young quarterback in the NFL, something Haskins must continue to improve. Whether it was his stat gloating after a loss or just a lack of general preparation, Irvin thinks Haskins could learn from the 2020 draft's No. 1 pick.
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"That's what you have to be careful with for young quarterbacks. It's not how they're physically gifted shoulders down, it's how they handle things shoulders up," Irvin said. "You know, Joe Burrow — I could play the young guy right now, because when he has setbacks, he fights back. He fights back. You want to see a guy that knows how to handle setbacks by fighting back, not handling setbacks by tanking. And that's what Joe Burrow does, so you're looking for guys to do that. What young guy that can handle a setback by fighting back. And that's why I got so upset when they put that out about Dwayne Haskins."
Though Haskins didn't come in with the lofty expectations the former LSU Heisman winner has in Cincinnati, he can certainly learn how to overcome challenging circumstances similar to some of the comebacks Burrow has had to mount with his Bengals. "I'm gonna give him a chance to make sure I saw what I saw," said Irvin. "If you say he can't play, I want to make sure he can't play before I get ready move him."
Whether that means using Haskins similar to how the Eagles utilize Jalen Hurts or the Saints with Taysom Hill -- both of whom are more athletically gifted mobile QBs -- is unclear, but finding a way to get Haskins on the field if Smith stays healthy could be quite difficult.